Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory were hoping to build on their result from their 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar on Monday night at Etihad Stadium in Round 5 of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League. The new boss is a club legend at Melbourne Victory and has had his share of detractors and fans.
“This is obviously a really exciting opportunity for me and one that I feel I’m ready to take on at this stage of my career,” Muscat told the media on Oct. 31. “Ange demanded a lot and gave me a great deal of responsibility when I was his assistant – something that I believe has definitely prepared me well for the top job.
“Melbourne Victory plays, and will continue to play, a certain way and the fact that I’ve been heavily involved in the implementation of our structures and philosophies is really important considering we’re now a month into the season.
“I’m lucky enough to have achieved plenty of success here as a player and it certainly does spur me on to want to enjoy that same feeling now as a coach. I’m very confident that as a club, we’re headed in the right direction and I’m looking forward to playing a big part in Melbourne Victory’s future successes.”
Wellington Phoenix are managed by a former Melbourne Victory boss, Ernie Merrick. However, Archie Thompson believed that this wasn’t a time to be nostalgic.
“Each coach has a different way of doing things, but we’re excited for Monday and we are looking forward to kick-starting his career with a win,” Thompson said on Sunday. “It’s not about coaches, it’s not about players – it’s about the club and we want to win for the club.
“It doesn’t matter who steps in – whatever coach, whatever player – our mentality is to win for our supporters and for our club, it’s not about coaches or players. Simple.”
1.Nathan COE (GK)
5.Mark MILLIGAN (c)
Two to be omitted
1.Glen MOSS (GK)
22.Andrew DURANTE (c)
Two to be omitted
Kick-Off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: Matthew Gillett
Last Time: Wellington 2-3 Melbourne Victory
History: Victory 11, Wellington 3, Drawn 6
Betting: $1.53 Melbourne Victory, $3.80 Draw, $7 Wellington Phoenix
TV: Fox Sports 1 (LIVE)
Early on in the first half, Wellington were on the attack and looked to gain the advantage, but Melbourne’s James Troisi almost continued his hotstreak two minutes in, forcing a save by Phoenix netminder Glen Moss. Jeremy Brockie, Wellington’s leading goalscorer from last year, had a look in the fourthminute but to no avail. The first yellow came six minutes in, when Wellington’s Louis Fenton fouled Mark Milligan.
Carlos Hernandez, a former Victory bookend, nearly cashed in with a shot in the eighth minute of play. In the ninth minute, Thompson cashed in with a blistering looper off the restart from 20 yards out. The Phoenix players were clamoring for an offside. The Nix’s Stein Huysegems nearly responded 12 minutes in, forcing a clearance from Adama Traore. Melbourne responded with a flurry of chances from Traore, Thompson and Mark Milligan.
Thompson nearly cashed in again two minutes later, forcing a clearance from the other Muscat in the game, the Phoenix’s Many Muscat. The ensuing corner was off the mark. The Victory’s Mitch Nichols was shaken up in the 17th minute due a bum thigh and needed treatment. Brockie had a chance in the 19th minute that would have tested Nathan Coe…if he wasn’t offsides.
Finally, Troisi broke through in the 22nd minute thanks to a poor defensive header by Andrew Durante leading to a 1-v-1 against Glen Moss that he won with ease. As a result, the match was starting to get wide-open. Thompson nearly made it 3-0 to the Victory 25 minutes in. Jason Geria earned a yellow card seconds late for fouling Wellington’s Reese Caira. Hernandez’s next chance came off a set piece but it went high and over.
Nichols nearly got through in the 30th minute but failed to finish a chance from Troisi. Perhaps Troisi himself should have fancied his own chances at a brace. A minute later, he decided, I heard you, View from Avalon; so I’ll take matters into my own hands. His chip shot made it 3-0 Victory and it was turning into a Monday Night Rout at Etihad.
Wellington needed to respond, and in the 37th minute, Hernandez found Brockie on the left side to make it 3-1 Melbourne. Brockie had the speed and burned the Victory backline to continue his goalscoring success in the A-League.
Huysegems almost made it 3-2 in the 40th minute but he was offsides. Contreras did not do well to mark Huysegems on that sequence. Gui Finkler was forced into the fray in the 41st minute and Leigh Broxham was also coming up gimpy. A shot from Traore in the 44th minute missed wide left of the mark. At the break, the Victory lead, 3-1.
In the second half, a chance for the Nix in the 47th minute hit Milligan real hard and he had to be treated for a bit. The Victory, meanwhile, were piling on the corners, and in the 50th minute, Adrian Leijer nearly finished on the fourth corner of the half for Melbourne. Milligan nearly got in on the party in the 52nd minute off another corner kick, their seventh of the game, but missed the top right corner of the goal.
Thompson was offsides in the 56th minute but he came close to getting a brace of his own. Broxham was there with the delivery. And the seagulls were circling around the pitch for their pitchside view of the action. A chance for Hernandez in the 59th minute of play was cleared by Milligan, and the ensuing corner saw Durante make a meal of it, his header going high and over the bar.
A shot from Melbourne’s Kosta Barbarouses was collected by Moss in the 61st minute of play. Vince Lia had a look on goal in the 63rd minute but missed. Things started to get chippy afterwards: in the 64th minute, Broxham got cautioned for a foul. Another sequence from Wellington was collected by Coe in the 65th minute after Geria failed to clear.
The next several minutes were a ball possession battle, with neither side willing to give a meter.Brockie earned a caution for dissent in the 72nd minute. About a minute later, he nearly cashed in. Leo Bertos got the nod in the 74th minute for Vince Lia and Paul Ifill came in for Huysegems in the 72nd to bring an offensive spark late.
Mitch Nichols’s absence was exploited by the Phoenix in the second half and they did well enough to earn their share of chances. Ben Sigmund earned a yellow in the 78th minute for a routh challenge on Pablo Contreras. Troisi also earned a caution in the 81st minute, and now it was the cards that were piling up. Hernandez wasted an opportunity to pull one back in the 83rd minute, adding to the poor finishing from both teams this half.
That would change soon enough. The aformentioned Ifill made it a game in the 84th minute, slicing through two Victory defenders to make it 3-2 Melbourne. So much for the game being a rout. Once again, the absence of Nichols had given the Phoenix momentum, and now, the Victory had to hang on because they were running out of ideas in the attack.
A shot from Thompson in the second minute of stoppage time was collected by Moss. Brockie nearly had the equalizer in the third minute of extra time but couldn’t get a foot in. The Phoenix couldn’t generate any more chances and they ran out of time as Melbourne prevailed 3-2 over Wellington.
|Melb Victory||Match Completed||Wellington|
|3||HALF TIME SCORE||1|
|8||SHOTS ON GOAL||4|
Up next for Melbourne Victory is the Big Blue with Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Nov. 11, 2013. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. AEDT and will be televised by Fox Sports 1 at BT Sport.